Tour of Poland to celebrate Leonard Bernstein and Penderecki
JoAnn Falletta is taking the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra to Poland in March 2018 to perform in four different cities and four acclaimed concert halls. The tour comes at the invitation of Elzbieta Penderecka, president and founder of the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival, an annual two-week festival in Warsaw that features many of Europe's leading orchestras, ensembles and the world's great soloists.
First organized in 1997 as part of the Krakow 2000 European City of Culture program, the festival has taken place in Warsaw since 2004. Each year, the festival has a theme. In 2018, it celebrates the centennial of Leonard Bernstein and the 85th birthday of eminent Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki.
This will be the BPO's first trip overseas tour since 1988.
Falletta will make history as the first American woman to lead a concert at the festival. Although a number of American ensembles have appeared under the festival auspices, the BPO will be the first full orchestra to perform in Warsaw during the two-week festival. Additional stops have the full BPO performing in four cities:
•March 18: The BPO performs at The National Forum of Music in Wrocław, the city's institution of culture, and a state-of-the-art multifunctional concert venue. Home to a number of instrumental and vocal ensembles and the site of several international festivals, it was completed in 2015 and has 1,800 seats.
•March 20: The BPO makes its appearance at Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, the centerpiece of the tour as one of 12 concerts taking place during the festival.
•March 21: The BPO travels to Katowice to perform in the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) Concert Hall. This hall is among the many that have been constructed in the country in recent years. Completed in 2014, it is the home of one of Poland's leading symphonic orchestras.
•March 22: The tour concludes in Lublin at the Centre for the Meeting of Cultures. The venue opened in 2016, replacing an older building that was never completed. It boasts a large concert hall, a recital space, and smaller rooms for lectures and workshops.
The program puts the spotlight on American master composers, including Barber's Symphony No. 1; Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F, featuring pianist Conrad Tao; and Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from "West Side Story." Also on the program is Krzysztof Penderecki's Adagietto from "Paradise Lost."
Falletta said she is thrilled this has all come together.
"The opportunity to tour Poland at the invitation of the Beethoven Easter Festival will be a transformative artistic benchmark in the history of our Buffalo Philharmonic. We are honored that we have been chosen by this prestigious festival to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the legendary Leonard Bernstein, and, in addition, to mark the 85th birthday of iconic Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki. We are very proud to be able to represent Buffalo and Western New York at the festival," she said.
In advance of the tour, a BPO brass and percussion ensemble will perform and present master classes at the Krzysztof Penderecki Centre for European Music in Luslawice on March 15-16. Plans are being confirmed for the ensemble to perform March 17 in Rzeszow, Buffalo's sister city, before joining the rest of the orchestra in Wroclaw.
Maestro Falletta has built a strong relationship with the local Polish community and the Polish musical community through a variety of projects over the years, so the tour is an extension of her artistic vision. BPO Principal French Horn Jacek Muzyk and section French Horn Daniel Kerdelewicz both hail from Poland. Falletta has conducted in Krakow and Warsaw. In 2014, a small group of BPO fans joined her in Poland to tour this famously musical country. In December 2016, the BPO was privileged to have Maestro Penderecki lead the BPO in a performance of his Concerto for Violin and Cello featuring Concertmaster Dennis Kim and Principal Cellist Roman Mekinulov.
Polish Maestros Antoni Wit and Michal Nesterowicz have appeared with the BPO in recent years and the BPO has made a recording of important Polish works. Beethoven Festival artist Konrad Skolarski will appear with the BPO this November.
"The BPO's ability to mount this tour speaks to our ever-growing global reputation, the consistently high level of artistic excellence we deliver to our audiences, and strong local support," BPO board of trustees Chairman Stephen Swift said. "This is truly a landmark moment in the orchestra's history. We still hear from patrons about the 1988 European tour. It is rare for an orchestra of our size to be afforded such a unique opportunity, and we look forward to representing all of Western New York at this prestigious event."
Buffalonians are invited to come along on the "VIP BPO Poland Tour." This experience includes an opportunity to hear a performance featuring violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter who just opened the BPO's 2017-18 season, and tickets to the BPO's performance. The group will also visit attractions, enjoy other concerts and recitals, fine dining and cultural experiences. The tour includes Warsaw and Krakow, and concludes in Prague, where Falletta will join the group. Trustee Cindy Abbott Letro is leading the committee to organize this aspect of the tour. Travel arrangements can be made through The Travel Team. For more information, call 1-866-289-7511, or email Ron Luczak at [email protected]
The BPO will perform the tour program with Conrad Tao at Kleinhans Music Hall on March 10-11. Tickets for what will be the official tour send-off for the orchestra are available by calling 716-885-5000, by visiting bpo.org
, or by going to the Kleinhans Music Hall box office at 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo.